My name is Rob Cherny and I'm a professional Web Developer with 16 years of experience creating Web sites and Web-based applications. This site is where I write about my work, and random other things...

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Switching from Windows to a Mac: Initial Impressions

So I got my Mac. In fact, I got two Macs. When I commit to doing something, boy do I commit. :)

  • One in August for myself: 17” MacBook Pro; 2.3 GHz Intel Core Duo; 5400 rpm Hard Drive; Refurbished
  • One in October for work: 15” MacBook Pro; 2.44 GHz Intel Core Duo; LCD screen, 7200 rpm Hard Drive

Two machines yes, since I do keep a fairly strict separation of what is for the “day job” and what is for home and home office type stuff. My PC died in August, so I was actually pushed into the “getting a Mac” decision which had been years in the making. The work laptop was a change a bunch of us had been talking about for a while, in terms of development flexibility, which honestly was a motivator for myself at home as well. And of course the company paid for that one (no I can’t afford two Macs!) and one day I’ll have to give it back. But I’m not going to be setting up my testbed on my work machine, you know?

So initial impressions on the difference: the extra GHz and the 7200 rpm drive do seem to make a marked performance boost as near as I can tell. Only other thing I can think is since my personal box was a refurb, maybe there’s something going on there. I’ve been thinking about wiping the HD and starting over on it, just for sh!ts and giggles, but who knows.

I do love Mac OS X. Specifically:

  • For the simplicity: I honestly don’t believe it’s that much easier than Windows — seriously, I think it’s just less information in your face (far fewer menu items and buttons, typically), but a cleaner, less “information overload” experience that is a more peaceful coexistence with your computer
  • Having a Unix command line rocks; although I’ve got a lot to relearn
  • Pretty software — I’m a superficial bastard when it comes to software
  • Being able to run Windows still — yeah I’ll catch hell for this one, but yes, I’m still using Windows, in particular for work, and this was half the reason for the switch – best of both worlds on one hardware platform you know.
  • Media, Video, etc. is definitely better on a Mac than on a PC

There’s a few things I find annoying:

  • Much harder to find software utilities for specific niche things: on Windows, someone has written it, since there’s so many users
  • Obscure keyboard shortcuts for critical (what I consider critical anyway — I’m somewhat of a power user and control freak) functions

I am a keyboard nut. I use keyboard shortcuts for everything, but I’m overwhelmed to a degree on the Mac. I’m getting there, but it’s crazy if you want to be a power keyboard user how much they expect you to dig in and find things. I guess it’s the 80/20 rule, and I’m in the 20%, which I can’t say surprises me.

Articles on Making the Switch from Windows to a Mac

I am hoping this will be the first of many posts chronicling this switch, covering various topics from:

  • Hardware, Habits, and software issues
  • Software Favorites
  • Microsoft Windows on a Mac
  • Web Development on a Mac
  • IIS and Windows Web Development on a Mac
  • Migrating my development environment
  • ...and who knows what else!

We will see. My track record of writing this year has been less impressive, but we will see.

Nov 2, 10:31 AM in Web Development (filed under Apple-and-Macs, Making-the-Switch)

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  1. kangax    Nov 2, 02:07 PM    #

    Rob, thanks for an informative overview. I am a windows user myself (for 10+ years) and am considering switching to Mac, mainly due to a popular belief that this is an ultimate platform for web development. Looking forward to your future posts on this subject.


  2. Charles    Nov 30, 01:27 AM    #


    I followed the same Mac path, and never looked back. Thanks for the useful site.



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